When Roderick MacFarquhar was editor of the China Quarterly in the 1960s, it was funded by the CIA and, as he later admitted, carried articles by senior officials from the CIA, MI6 and the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department. He always denied being influenced by the intelligence agencies, but under his editorship the journal was the public forum where the major argument between the CIA and MI6 over the reality and significance of the Soviet-China split was debated. This had consequences in terms of British policy with regard to Vietnam and the long-running dispute over the bona fides of the defector Anatoly Golitsyn.
Before the February 1974 general election, Roderick MacFarquhar appointed me as his press secretary for the Belper constituency, a post that involved both devising and embroidering stories in Derbyshire newspapers to enhance his chances of election. Since he was a skilful journalist my press releases improved no end. He was elected with a majority of more than 5,000.